Rugby

All Blacks to play the USA

2014-05-13 21:44
All Blacks haka (Getty Images)

Wellington - Rugby union world champions New Zealand will play minnows the United States for only the fourth time in their history on November 1 it was announced on Tuesday.

The All Blacks, who share the same sponsor as the 'Eagles', will play the Americans in the historic home of the Chicago Bears NFL franchise the 61 000-capacity Soldier Field Stadium.

This will mark the first match between the two sides on American soil since 1980 and just the third official Test in front of what is expected to be a record crowd for a rugby match in the United States.

"We are very excited to be taking the All Blacks to a part of the world we know is incredibly keen on all sports and where we believe there is a real thirst to see the style of rugby we are famous for," said New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew, whose side will play there on their way to their tour of Europe.

His USA counterpart, former England scrumhalf Nigel Melville was equally effusive over the Test which will be screened live by American broadcaster NBC.

"Rugby is growing rapidly in America and to have the best team in the world and wonderful ambassadors for the game playing on our home soil for the first time in 34 years will be great for the game here," said Melville.

New Zealand last took on the USA at the 1991 Rugby World Cup in England and played an exhibition match in San Diego, California, in 1980.

The teams also played each other 101 years ago in Berkeley, California.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said he hoped by playing there they could help increase interest in the game and thereby get more young people playing the sport.

"You look at the calibre of athletes you see playing basketball and NFL and if they put some real energy into rugby, there would be a fairly big pool to choose from," said McCaw.

"A lot of people don't know about the All Blacks in the US so it will be great to play a game there and show what rugby is all about."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  richie mccaw  |  steve tew  |  rugby
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